No Dolls for the Fair

No Dolls for the Fair

by Anna Dillon                   USA              30.07.2023

Anna Dillon, a retired teacher,  was a close friend and supporter of MMM in Boston, USA.  Sr Jude Walsh described her as follows:  “Each year she got better and better ideas as to how best to help MMM when she retired from teaching. She put all her energies and wisdom into her work for MMM. At the same time she took care of her invalid sisters, Edna and Noni. With her enthusiasm and charm she roped in all her friends and others, in such a way that many of them felt it a privilege to be associated with Anna’s project. Each year it seemed as if she had new exciting ideas and her enthusiasm was contagious. This prevented any of her helpers getting bored doing the same thing each year. Anna also encouraged her helpers to bring their own talents and ideas to the project, which they did willingly.”  These words of Anna were first published in 1977.

It reminded the Editor that Drogheda has a Christmas Craft Fair planned for November 25th this year……

It seems to me that our dear Lord has a tremendously droll sense of humour.  Back in 1967, God gave me the idea that I should give the Medical Missionaries of Mary a bit of help at their Boston Christmas Bazaar.  I had seen one of their films and felt a sense of guilt that I had done so little for the missions.

“Ten or fifteen clown dolls for their toy table will be a help”, I thought.  Smugly, I felt this would be a very respectable contribution.  Like most people, I was setting the extent to which I would come involved.  But the ever more generous Lord had different ideas.  He was thinking in greater numbers than I.

I talked so enthusiastically about what I was going to do that I soon had a nucleus of close friends who were eager to help.  We bought our materials and set a night for the task.  We cut, sewed and stuffed about a dozen or more clown dolls.  A cousin of mine had provided the patterns and she became the first director of the work.  There were many laughs as we ’non-expert’ doll makers worked.  Surprisingly, the results were quite good!  Truly, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, for our workers became our first eager buyers.  All the clown dolls were sold, and we had money for the MMM Bazaar, but no dolls to sell at the Fair when the first night ended.

That meant, of course, that we must meet again.  We did.  And again, we ended the night with no dolls for the Fair, but always more money for the MMM work.  The meetings became weekly affairs, for we were getting many orders for dolls.  They were now making a name for themselves as MMM Clown Dolls.  Some of the Sisters joined us each night and we were a happy lot as we worked and listened to mission stories and some tall ones of our own.

We were astonished to find that no matter how many dolls we made, we had no dolls for the Fair, but always money to go into the MMM pot.  The Bazaar came and went and we were still cutting, sewing and stuffing, dolls in Christmas week.  We were trying to fill the last few orders so that we would have no disappointed customers on Christmas Day.  It seemed as though every family in Boston wanted an MMM Clown Doll under their Christmas tree.

The MMM Sisters were as thrilled with our success as we were.  God had not only blessed the work of our hands, but God had let us share in the joy of helping the missions.  By now they were convinced that we were an integral part of the MMM work of healing. Within the next five years we made more than 2500 MMM Clown Dolls – and then we stopped counting.  Those who could crochet or knit used their talents for the missions.  Some made other stuffed toys and animals.

How God must laugh when looking down on my tiny goal of ten or twelve clown dolls for the Boston Christmas Bazaar.  God has let so many people share in the joy of helping MMM that we no longer limit our involvement.

And what must I do tomorrow?  I must make ten or fifteen Clown Dolls, of course.  Come, share my joy.